United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’, former
Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (“DPSCS”) Gregg L. Hershberger
(“Secretary Hershberger”), former Warden of
Jessup Correctional Institution (“JCI”) John
Wolfe (“Warden Wolfe”), Correctional Officer
(“C.O.”) II Michael Holdsclaw (“Officer
Holdsclaw”), C.O. II Justice Marboah (“Officer
Marboah”), and C.O. II Ayokunle Ayodele (“Officer
Ayodele”) (collectively, the “State
Defendants”),  Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgement (ECF No. 20). Also pending are
Plaintiff Michael Hunt’s Motions for Appointment of
Counsel (ECF Nos. 10 and 22). The Court finds no hearing
necessary pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the
reasons that follow, the Court will grant the State
Defendants’ Motion and deny Hunt’s
an inmate at JCI. He alleges that on February 22, 2015 at
approximately 6:00 p.m., corrections officers escorted him to
a shack at JCI, which he describes as a “hangout
station for officers.” (Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1). Hunt
states the officers ordered him to take his clothes off and
that he “ignored the comment.” (Id.).
When Hunt stood up from the chair in which he was sitting, he
alleges that Officer Justice Marboah punched him in the face.
(Id.). Following the punch to his face, Hunt states
that Officers Holdsclaw and Ayodele assisted Officer Marboah
in taking Hunt to the ground. (Id.). Officer
Holdsclaw then straddled Hunt and attempted to restrain
Hunt’s arms, while Officer Ayodele, who was positioned
on Hunt’s left side, and Officer Marboah, who was
positioned on Hunt’s right side, repeatedly kicked and
punched Hunt. (Id.). The kicks and punches continued
until Officer Holdsclaw told Officers Marboah and Ayodele to
“stop having fun” and handcuffs were placed on
maintains that as a result of the assault (the
“Altercation”) he suffered numerous injuries to
his face, neck, back, waist, and arms. (Id.). He
maintains his right eye was “partially swollen, ”
the inside of his mouth and his forearms were cut, there was
a laceration to his hand, and a laceration on his back below
complained about the Altercation to Warden Wolfe who
responded that the injuries were caused by Hunt’s own
actions and found Hunt’s complaint to be without merit.
(Id.). The Commissioner of Corrections upheld Warden
Wolfe’s decision and dismissed Hunt’s complaint.
(Id.). Hunt maintains that a proper investigation
would have established that Officers Holdsclaw, Ayodele, and
Marboah used excessive force. (Id.). Hunt admits to
using profanity during the Altercation. (Id.). Hunt
further alleges that in dismissing his administrative
complaint, Warden Wolfe and Secretary Hershberger sanctioned
the Officers’ excessive use of force. (Id.).
State Defendants’ Response
State Defendants paint a far different picture of the
Altercation. At approximately 6:10 p.m., during mass movement
for the dinner meal for C-Building at JCI, Officer Babatunde
Abidogun saw Hunt enter the dining room from the wrong
direction of the compound. (Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss or Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. 1 [“DPSCS Records”] at 6, 14, ECF
No. 20-3). Officer Abidogun inquired about
Hunt’s housing assignment and Hunt replied he was
assigned to C-Building. (Id.). Officer Abidogun then
asked where Hunt was coming from, and Hunt walked away
stating, “don’t start your African
Marboah then approached Hunt and asked for his identification
card. (Id.). Officer Abidogun saw Hunt clench his
fist and raise his hand above his belt level toward Officer
Marboah. (Id.). Based on that observation, Officer
Abidogun called Officer Holdsclaw, who was the officer in
charge of the compound, for back-up. (Id.). When
Officer Holdsclaw arrived, Hunt was shouting at Officers
Marboah and Abidogun and refusing orders to leave the dining
room. (Id. at 59). Officer Holdsclaw gave Hunt a
direct order to leave the dining room, Hunt complied, and
Officers Holdsclaw and Marboah escorted Hunt from the area
without further incident. (Id.).
Officers Holdsclaw and Marboah arrived with Hunt at the
Compound office, which Hunt refers to in his Complaint as the
“shack, ” Marboah gave Hunt an order to prepare
for a strip search. (Id. at 14). Hunt refused to
comply and instead exclaimed, “if you touch me, I will
f**k you up.” (Id.). Officer Marboah gave Hunt
another order to prepare for a strip search and Hunt advanced
toward Officer Marboah aggressively and pushed against
Officer Marboah’s chest with both of his hands.
(Id. at 59, 67-71). Officer Marboah responded by
grabbing Hunt’s left arm and Officer Holdsclaw grabbed
Hunt’s right arm, taking Hunt to the floor to control
him. (Id.). Hunt continued to struggle and resisted
being handcuffed. (Id.). Officer Ayodele then
responded to the area to assist and held Hunts’ hands
behind his back while Officer Holdsclaw applied handcuffs.
(Id. at 28, 77-79). Officer Marboah advised Hunt he
would be receiving a Notice of Infraction for his actions.
(Id. 67-71). Officer Julius Akingbehin then escorted
Hunt to the medical department for evaluation. (Id.
Adeoye, R.N., (“Nurse Adeoye”) examined Hunt and
noted that he had several lacerations to his back, neck,
forehead, and right upper side of his face. (Id. at
36). Nurse Adeoye also noted “profuse bleeding, ”
but did not note the origin of the bleeding. (Id.).
A further notation states the bleeding was controlled.
(Id.). She further noted that Hunt had pain in the
area of his ribs, but that his abdomen was not painful or
tender and otherwise did not show a sign of injury.
(Id.). In addition, Hunt complained of pain in his
lower back and lower extremities, but Nurse Adeoye noted
there was no sign of bleeding from those areas of his body.
(Id.). Hunt received 650 mg of Acetaminophen for a
headache. (Id.). On February 27, 2015, five days
after the incident, Hunt received an x-ray of his chest which
revealed a subtle non-displaced fracture of the seventh rib.
(Id. at 154, 156).
the Altercation, Officer Marboah charged Hunt with violation
of rules 102 (assault or batter on another inmate), 104 (use
of threatening language), 312 (interfering with or resisting
the duties of staff), and 405 (insolence, disrespect, vulgar
language). (Id. at 68). At an adjustment hearing on
April 7, 2015, a hearing officer found Hunt guilty of
violating rules 104, 312, and 405. (Mot. Dismiss or Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. 4 at 3, ECF No. 20-6). The hearing officer noted
that Hunt admitted to telling the Officers to “get the
f**k away from” him. (Id. at 4).